Monday, February 15, 2021

February 15 Radio History

Mary Lee Robb
➦In actress Mary Lee Robb was born in Illinois.

She made her radio debut in 1947 on the “Lum and Abner” program, but it was a small part in a 1948 episode of NBC radio’s “The Great Gildersleeve” that led to her full-time role as Gildy’s niece Marjorie, which she played until 1954.

She also appeared on “The Penny Singleton Radio Show,” “Father Knows Best,” “Burns and Allen” and others before retiring to raise her daughter and son.

She died of heart failure Aug. 26 2006 at age 80.

➦In 1932… George Burns and his delightfully ditsy wife Gracie Allen debuted as regulars on “The Guy Lombardo Show” on CBS radio.  The couple was so popular that by Sept. 1934, they would have their own show “The Adventures of Gracie” on CBS.  Two years later it evolved into the “Burns & Allen Show.”  George and Gracie continued on radio for 14 more years before making the switch to TV. They were headliners on radio and TV combined for more than 30 years.

 Burns and Allen's radio show was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1994.

➦In 1943…The radio drama 'My True Story was first heard on the  ABC Radio Network. It was the start of a 19-year run on daily radio.  

➦In 1965…Singer Nat King Cole died in 1965 from cancer at age 45.

On November 5, 1956, The Nat 'King' Cole Show debuted on NBC TV . The variety program was one of the first hosted by an African American, and started at a length of fifteen-minutes but was increased to a half-hour in July 1957. Rheingold Beer was a regional sponsor, but a national sponsor was never found.

Joe McCoy
➦In 1975...Joe McCoy started as a disc jockey at WCBS 101.1 FM in NYC.

He eventually became Program Director in 1981.  In his 23 years as Program Director at WCBS-FM in New York City the station was # 1 (12+) 5 times as well as a leader for many years in the all-important 25-54 demo.

He's now retired enjoying traveling, jazz and baseball.

➦In 2002... former CBS Radio correspondent and ABC TV anchorman Howard K. Smith died of pneumonia at age 87. He was one of the original members of the team of WW2 correspondents known as the Murrow Boys.

Howard K Smith
Upon graduating, Smith worked for the New Orleans Item, with United Press in London, and with The New York Times. In January 1940, Smith was sent to Berlin, where he joined the Columbia Broadcasting System under Edward R. Murrow.

He visited Hitler's mountain retreat at Berchtesgaden and interviewed many leading Nazis, including Hitler himself, Schutzstaffel or "SS" leader Heinrich Himmler and Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels.

When Smith refused to include Nazi propaganda in his reports, the Gestapo seized his notebooks and threw him out of the country. He left for Switzerland on December 6, 1941, the day before the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

Angelo Henderson
➦In 2014…Detroit print and radio journalist and community activist Angelo Henderson, whose daily ‘Your Voice’ talk show on WCHB AM1200 was devoted to Detroit issues, died at age 51.

At the time of his death he was recovering from surgery conducted a month earlier. Henderson died from venous thromboembolism – a blood clot that starts in a vein – that included pulmonary embolism, when the clot breaks free and travels to the lung.

In 1999, Henderson won the Pulitzer Prize for Distinguished Feature Writing. Henderson remains the only African American journalist to win the Pulitzer Prize for The Wall Street Journal.

  • Actor Claire Bloom is 90. 
  • Songwriter Brian Holland (Holland-Dozier-Holland) is 80. 
  • Renee O'Connor is 50
    Drummer Mick Avory of The Kinks is 77. 
  • Jazz saxophonist Henry Threadgill is 77. 
  • Actor Marisa Berenson (“Barry Lyndon”) is 74. 
  • Actor Jane Seymour is 70. 
  • Singer Melissa Manchester is 70. 
  • Actor Lynn Whitfield (“Madea’s Family Reunion”) is 68. 
  • Cartoonist Matt Groening (“The Simpsons”) is 67. 
  • Model Janice Dickinson is 66. 
  • Actor Christopher McDonald (“Harry’s Law,” “Family Law”) is 66. 
  • Singer Ali Campbell (UB40) is 62. 
  • Actor Joseph R. Gannascoli (“The Sopranos”) is 62. 
  • Bassist Mikey Craig of Culture Club is 61. 
  • Actor Steven Michael Quezada (“Breaking Bad”) is 58. 
  • Country singer Michael Reynolds of Pinmonkey is 57. 
  • Actor Michael Easton (“General Hospital”) is 54. 
  • Actor Alex Borstein (“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”) is 50. 
  • Actor Renee O’Connor (“Xena: Warrior Princess”) is 50. 
  • Actor Sarah Wynter (“24″) is 48. 
  • Singer Brandon Boyd of Incubus is 45. 
  • Drummer Ronnie Vannucci of The Killers is 45. 
  • Singer-guitarist Adam Granduciel of The War on Drugs is 42. 
  • Singer Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes is 41. 
  • Guitarist Gary Clark Jr. is 37. 
  • Actor Natalie Morales (“The Grinder,” ″90210″) is 36. 
  • Actor Amber Riley (“Glee”) is 35. 
  • Rapper Megan Thee Stallion is 26. 
  • Actor Zach Gordon (“Diary of a Wimpy Kid” films) is 23.

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